Archaeologica - History

Archaeologica started in 1998 as the "Archaeological News" topic posted by Michelle Hilling on a bulletin board that was part of the "Ancient Sites" community. The news topic quickly developed a widespread readership. In 2000, Michelle officially teamed up with Claire Britton-Warren and launched Archaeologica independently on the World Wide Web. The two devoted much of their time to gathering news stories of archaeological and historical interest from around the world and bringing them together for the News Page on Archaeologica. The new website grew in popularity very quickly and became a widely read and respected news resource on the Internet. Claire eventually moved on, and Michelle ran Archaeologica on her own.

In 2001, Archaeologica teamed up with Dr. Rick Pettigrew and Archaeology Legacy Institute (ALI) to begin producing the Audio News from Archaeologica (https://www.archaeologychannel.org/audio-guide/audio-news), which has gained a large and loyal following on The Archaeology Channel (archaeologychannel.org, TAC) website and became a podcast in 2005.

After many years of collaboration between Archaeologica and ALI, and after the passing of Michelle Hilling, Archaeologica joined the family of websites under the ALI umbrella, including TAC and ArchaeoSeek (http://www.archaeoseek.com/). Archaeologica now is owned and managed by ALI.

Please see more about Michelle Hilling and her longstanding history of commitment to Archaeologica in the dedication below.

Dedication to Michelle Hilling

Every story has a beginning. In the words of its co-founder, Michelle Hilling, Archaeologica’s beginning was “no more than a single topic on a bulletin board in 1998. The bulletin board was part of a now-defunct role-playing community.” Archaeologica outlasted that format, as it quickly developed a readership outside the community and grew into the first “go-to” source for archaeology news. Michelle, alongside Claire Britton-Warren, a fellow archaeology fan, opened Archaeologica on the Web on April 23, 2000. The two partners were very proud when Forbes Magazine honored Archaeologica with a Best-of-the-Web distinction in that first year. It quickly developed into the leading archaeology news website, with a very large and loyal audience.

In 2001, Michelle and Claire partnered with Dr. Rick Pettigrew at Archaeological Legacy Institute (ALI) to begin producing the weekly Audio News from Archaeologica, the first audio offering on The Archaeology Channel website (archaeologychannel.org), with scripts written by Michelle and based on stories from Archaeologica. By the time the Audio News became a podcast in 2005, Claire had retired from Archaeologica and Michelle was managing it by herself. Michelle delighted in starting each morning with what she dubbed her “archaeology hunting and gathering” to find and share the latest news on the ancient world and archaeological research. The success and longevity of both Archaeologica and the Audio News from Archaeologica can be credited in large part to Michelle’s dedication and hard work.

Michelle grew up in the American Southwest learning about the history and prehistory of many peoples around the globe. She loved reading about the ancient Greeks and Romans and became a lifelong fan of archaeology. She enjoyed her connections with her audience, and she maintained her passion for Archaeologica until her passing on October 9, 2019, after a brief and unexpected illness. She is survived by her husband Evan, beloved dog Atticus and grateful family and friends around the world.

In 2016, Michelle and Rick began a project to update the Archaeologica website, which still had the look designed in the year 2000. This project utilized the expertise of ALI and its website designer, Jesse Peters. Although she passed before she saw its completion, the newly revamped Archaeologica website was launched on January 16, 2020, as an enduring tribute to Michelle and her countless hours devoted to understanding and celebrating our ancient and global cultural heritage.